Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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One Good Thing about the 'Skins Loss

Heard on Redskins Postgame:

Since 1933 when the Redskins were inaugurated (so to speak), the last home game before an election has foreshadowed the outcome. A 'Skins win, it seems, means the incumbent stays in. A loss, and the incumbent loses, too.

Well that's a relief.

I guess we'll see Tuesday. I'll be determining who to vote for in all the other slots between trips to the door.

Happy Halloween! Bwahh-ha haah!

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Double Dip

One of the last thoughts I had while leaving Bread Loaf this year was "Next time, as a Scholar!"

In order to attend Bread Loaf as a scholar, you must have published at least one book. To be a fellow, it seems, two books form the prerequisite. Although I had played with the idea of being on staff (how cool would it be to do the daily newspaper?), I had no hopes of actually getting such a position. I'd heard from (friend and former attendee) Kellie that those jobs went mostly to former interns (waiters), and were rare commodities.

Imagine my surprise at being invited to Bread Loaf, 2005, as a staff member!

Just this week I received the formal invitation to work in the bookstore. This work-study program affords free tuition, free room & board, and a small stipend. It includes a workshop, meetings with professionals, and attending any events that do not conflict with my work hours.

I feel as if I won some secret prize. So much gratitude, and no idea where to direct it. Of course I said yes, because it may be hard work, but it's worth working for.

Next time, as a Staffer!

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Bushism to Ponder

Am I the only one who finds Bush's response to the question on controlling illegal immigration funny?

From the Post's transcript:

"After all, I was a border governor for a while… Well, to say that the borders are not as protected as they were prior to September the 11th shows he doesn't know the borders. They're much better protected today than they were when I was the governor of Texas."

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Ridin' Along in my Automobile

2004 Chevy Malibu

I wish.

The one-time muscle car has become a comfy, roomy mid-size sedan with all the perks. Newly redesigned, the Malibu I rented while having the dings knocked out of my Altima is impressive. Mostly, it's the V6 that I love.

My first car was a first-issue V6 1988 Chevy Berretta, and I drove that car into the ground. I loved that car, mainly because it had great pick-up. The much lighter Malibu's V6 just takes off when you gas it a little, and I've been opening it up on 66 while heading to my editing job this week. It's 200HP engine had me going 90 before I knew it.

The rental has all the perks, including a CD player so fancy I haven't yet been able to adjust the bass, which is a problem because the last person left it on full, and the boom-boom against my calf (which I prop against the speaker) is bothering me no end. I haven't tried adjusting the pedals yet, either.

Drawbacks? The seats aren't terribly comfortable, and the headrests in the back seat (identical to bucket seat headrests) block a good portion of my rear view; I am forced to rely more on the passenger-side mirror than I'd like. It only gets 23 mpg city, but 33 mpg highway, which though not great compares admirably to the nicely priced ($22,750) Altima's 250-horsepower V6, which garners only 20/30 mpg. Even the Altima's got nothing on the restyled Accord's $26,400 V6 sedan's 240HP, which manages 26/34 mpg. (Prices are for 2004 models.)

Can't beat the Malibu's price with a stick, though. At $21,060 base for the V6, it's a steal. I'm enjoying the Malibu so much, I might steal it. However, I'm sure I wouldn't buy it. Given a choice of new cars, I'd get an Accord. Not that I have a choice; fixing my car means I'm going to drive it that much longer.

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National Book Festival

For the second year running, Jon and I attended the Library of Congress' National Book Festival, and we had a blast. It was a perfect day for it, partly sunny and cool, but the food prices were more outrageous than usual.

I bought only a couple of books-- Jon's Catherine Asaro book, while I nabbed Ted Kooser's final copy of his latest, complete with the "Poet Laureate" notation on the front (they managed that pretty quick). Jon also brought a book to be signed by Connie Willis, who turned out to be one of the best speakers we heard. Now I have to add her books to my long waitlist of books on deck.

And yes, I've got a new book for my minor collection of signed books. Waiting in line for poets, I realized there is an advantage to prefering so-called literary fiction and poetry to mysteries and Sci-Fi: the lines are way shorter.

Neil Gaimon's line was unbelievable. Round the block. I think he signed for 5 hours (authors are slated to sign for one hour). I'm guessing that lots and lots and lots of nerds wanted to talk to him. I'm going to have to borrow his book from West Coast Girl, who I am so glad came down from her new home to attend the Fest'. Competing for longest line were Heloise, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ben Bova, and (thankfully) Joyce Carol Oates.

Anyhow, I got my book signed, and then got a cool idea from Jon (who spied someone doing this) to grab as many signatures as possible on the poster they were handing out. I nabbed sigs by Babara Taylor Bradford, Ted Kooser (again), Tom Silva, Sci-Fi great Frederik Pohl, Connie Willis, Leigh and Leslie Keno of "Antiques Roadshow," and former White House chef Roland Mesnier, a charming man who answered my question "So, were there lots of late night snacks?" by replying "I can say nothing about that." He was a hoot.

I also got the signatures of poets Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, David Lehman, and Linda Pastan. I may have overlooked a couple. All those signatures on one framable poster for my office. If I ever finish my office, that is....

I was glad to run into one fellow Bread Loafer, Doreen, who will be reading this month. I promised her at least two butts in the seats for her. I've got one, and will draft my husband for another. Doreen and I caught up after Kooser's reading, walking the Mall back toward Voice of America, where she is gainfully employed as a newswriter.

I seriously hope the Library of Congress continues to host this one-day annual event next year, even when its originator is out of office, so to speak.

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My father claims that my second cousin, "S", also born August 2nd but two years later than me, could be my twin. This is news to me because I always thought I looked like my father's side of the family. "S" is my second cousin on my mother's side.

So, I'm putting out the question... does she look like me?

My Cousin 'S'

And me, with Jon...


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I've never gotten suckered in by Amazon's Listmania before. But there was something in the air tonite....


So, I wrote a list for literary fiction writing, heavy on the form and structure.

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